MARMOSETS are all South American, small, gentle creatures, often more like squirrels than monkeys. Easily the most distinguished looking of them is the lion marmoset. It is larger than most marmosets and of a bright chestnut colour, with a mane. For the most part the monkeys of the New World are of a lower form and of much less intelligence than those of the Old. They are many of them long and slender in body, with prehensile tails. Some of them, like the spider monkeys, are wonderful gymnasts and fly through the air, like birds, in their leaps from tree to tree.
The howler monkeys are remarkable for the volume of sound which they can produce. This is due to a thickening of a certain bone in the throat, which enables a full-grown male to be heard several miles away. The Old World monkeys include many species too numerous to mention, but attention may be drawn to the baboons, and especially to the West African mandrill. The male is one of the most strikingly coloured of all mammals, which as a class are not given to decoration. Mention may also be made of the colobus or guereza of Africa, which is thumbless and has handsome black and white fur, while the diana monkey is one of the few monkeys with real claims to be considered beautiful.
Last of all is the highest and most important family approaching most nearly to man—the anthropoids. It contains only four members, gibbon, orang-outan, chimpanzee, and gorilla. Gibbons are all Asiatic and tree-dwelling, though curiously
enough they are capable of a more upright walk than any of the other apes. Their arms are very long and they are perfectly at home in the trees. They are entirely vegetarian in diet, and mostly possessed of very loud voices. In the case of the largest species, the siamang gibbon, this is added to by the presence of a sac in the throat which when blown out magnifies the sound.
The orang-outans are found in Sumatra and Borneo. They are of a uniform reddish-brown colour, with long hair, and the fully grown males develop great horny growths round the face and neck. Their arms and hands are exceedingly long, and they live mostly in trees, making nests for themselves in which to sleep. Of a languid disposition, they are easily tamed when young.
The chimpanzee is African and approaches more nearly to the human form. The colouring is dark brown, the face is naked, as are the hands and feet. The ears are large, and the brows arched, and these animals are often of a quick, nervous temperament. They are intensely curious and imitative, and in captivity have often been taught to perform many tricks. Individuals would often seem to have very clever brains, though often their efforts seem to lead to no results.
It has been disputed as to whether the gorilla, the last member of the family, should rank higher than the chimpanzee, but, on the whole, scientific opinion tends to place the gorilla first. Certainly in point of size he is a much bigger animal, examples having been known over five and a half feet high, sixty inches round the chest, and six hundred pounds in weight. Such a beast would be a match for most things living, but usually in his chosen haunts the gorilla has few enemies, man always excepted, and leads a peaceful, vegetarian existence, living to a good old age. Man has had very few opportunities of observing gorillas as compared with chimpanzees, but there is little doubt that the intelligence of the gorilla is high and capable of much development.